There is a mistake that I hear very often and that I would say 90% of French learners make. It is a mistake that concerns these two words: Cours et Cours(e)s.

I completely understand this mistake, because "course" is a false friend of the English word "course". No matter if you are a beginner or an advanced student, I hear this mistake.

It's important to correct it so that we can see that you have a good level of French. 

I am going to explain you today the difference between the word "Cours" and "Course(s)", we are going to see the different meanings that these words have. 


Cours :

We will start with the word “Cours”.  C-O-U-R-S : Un cours (kuʁ). Des cours (kuʁ). Le cours (kuʁ). Les cours (kuʁ)

Yes, there is an S at the end of course, but it is not pronounced. Do not pronounce the S in the word "cours", because it will give the word "course" which has another meaning.

If you can remember at least one thing from this lesson, which is the most important thing: do not pronounce the S of course.

So, a cours with an S, but not pronounced, can mean many things.

  • Un cours may be synonymous with lesson (course in english) : Un cours de français, un cours de danse, un cours de cuisine, etc. (A French class, a dance class, a cooking class, etc.)

In a sentence :

Je te rappelle plus tard, mon cours d’italien commence dans 10 minutes.

J’aimerais bien jouer au tennis, mais je dois prendre des cours avant.

J’ai cours de mathématiques aujourd’hui.


  • Un cours can also be the one related to  finance. We will often talk about the cours de la bourse (stock market price)

For example: Le cours de la bourse est en hausse.


  • Le cours can also mean the natural flow of a river.

For example: Le cours de la Seine est rapide aujourd’hui.


  • Un cours can also mean a long avenue.

For example: J’habite Cours Gambetta.



Course(s) :

Let's see now the word "Course(s)" : C-O-U-R-S-E with or without S at the end depending on whether it is plural or not.

It's pronounced Course. Une course (kuʁs) : La course (kuʁs) : Des courses (kuʁs) : Les courses (kuʁs).

 The S in the middle of the word is pronounced SS like snake. 

The word "Course(s)" can also have several meanings:

  • Les courses are the purchases we make at the supermarket. It's always used in the plural in this sense.

For example: En général, je fais les courses le samedi.


  • Une course, is to make a purchase or an administrative procedure in a place, but not necessarily in a supermarket. Une course, is for example going to the post office or to the bank (an errand in english).

For example: J’ai une course urgente à faire avant de venir chez toi.


  • Faire de la course is to have as a hobby to run. Generally we will say rather "de la course à pied" or "faire du jogging". This avoids confusion about the different meanings of the word run. Also be careful, the conjugation of the verb to run in the first and second person of the present tense is written : cours : Je cours / Tu cours. But : je fais de la course à pied. 


  • Une course can also have the meaning of competition with a circuit to be completed as quickly as possible.

For example:  La course de chevaux a été annulée à cause du mauvais temps.


Remember :  

  • When I have a lesson, j’ai un cours. The S is not pronounced. If there is no E at the end, the S is not pronounced.

  • Faire les courses, is to buy things, food products at the supermarket.

  • Faire de la course à pied, is to run


J’ai cours = I have a class, a lesson.

Je fais les courses = I buy things at the supermarket.

Je cours = I run, I jog.


I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷